Three Cloud Cost Reports Every CFO Should Be Looking At

by Eric Goode

As every CFO knows, much of a company’s success is somewhere between balance sheets and income statements. The objective for a CFO is to manage cash flow and establish proper controls and guidelines. So what do you do when your cloud expenses are hard to track, difficult to allocate and grow seemingly unchecked on your P&L?

You need a way to gain visibility into your cloud costs, drive accountability and establish governance guidelines. This blog discusses the three key reports that help CFO’s manage and regain control of their cloud expenses.

Consolidated Cost History Report

All CFO’s want to be sure their cloud return on investment (ROI) is inline with forecasted projections. In order to successfully measure ROI, you need to have up-to-date data of all your consolidated cloud costs. Furthermore, you will need to trace what cloud expenses align with each part of your business. Most CFO’s accomplish this need by downloading all their cloud data into an Excel spreadsheet or Access database every month, quarter or year. Unfortunately, the data is out of date upon download.

An easier and less time consuming way to solve this need is to use the CloudHealth cost history report. In this report, users receive a standard 12-month view of consolidated costs across their entire infrastructures. All of the parameters are filterable, and all of the graphical outputs support drill down. You can view your data against budget, include amortized costs related to Reserved Instance purchases, and adjust your interval from monthly to weekly, daily, even hourly! Additionally, you can download your data in a tabular format for further analysis.

This report eliminates all the hours you have spent downloading, scrubbing and analyzing hundreds of thousands of hourly cloud data costs. Your data is up-to-date and consolidated in one place that is always available to anyone in your organization (instead of in a large Excel or Access database.) With this increased visibility, you can partner with your IT department to identify spending trends and make informed decisions.

Trends on Specific Infrastructure Growth

If you want to dive even deeper with your IT department’s expenses you will usually have to have a technical understanding of your cloud infrastructure. Usually this means hours of meetings with your IT department understanding each aspect of your infrastructure’s growth to tie it to the specific area of your business that is driving it. Additionally, these meetings would consist of projecting growth for the next quarter, month, or year by digging through pages of invoices from your cloud provider and hourly data from your infrastructure.

The CloudHealth Cost Summary Pulse report takes the friction out of trending specific infrastructure growth by displaying current month costs, projections, and prospective savings which could be realized at the click of a button.

For example, you realized that your costs have been growing steadily based on your cost history report. Going to your cost summary pulse report will allow you to drill down further and see that all of your growth is being driven by one development group. You are now empowered to talk to your CTO about that group’s impact on cost in relation to your environment and your business. With the cost summary pulse report, you can facilitate educated, strategic discussions with your team that ultimately drive costs down and ROI up.

On-Going Assessment of Your Cloud

As CFO you are always scrutinizing the cost of products and services while weighing the potential return. In order to closely watch your costs, you would have to continuously download cloud data to see what is being used, as well as become very reliant on your IT Department to notify you when they are upgrading or downgrading their infrastructure. The difficulty in this system lies in the fact that even your IT department may not have complete visibility into their cloud infrastructure. How do they know when your organization’s cloud infrastructure is violating your cloud policy and racking up unnecessary costs?

The CloudHealth Health Check report displays a 30,000-foot view of your cloud environment and real-time notifications of any cost savings potential, or when costs have gotten out of hand. Another great feature of this report allows you to see the immediate cost savings of purchasing Reserved Instances. This part of the platform enables you to model the most optimized purchase for your budget, determine the breakeven point, and forecast spend to understand how its amortization will affect your bottom line. CloudHealth will help ensure that your RI purchase is cost effective and will positively impact ROI.

Final Thoughts

In order to drive accountability with your IT department, establish governance policies to control your cloud expenses, and successfully forecast future expenses, every CFO needs to have access to a consolidated billing report, trends on specific infrastructure growth, and on-going assessments of your cloud spend. CloudHealth gives you visibility into your cloud infrastructure costs so you can spend more time determining the best way to optimize your cloud with your team.

Make sure that your CloudHealth Admin subscribes you to weekly updates of these reports, ensuring that you’re kept abreast of cost savings and usage optimization opportunities within your environment. Don’t think you have your hands around your cloud? Sign up for a 14-day trial.

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